You’ve gone to the garden center and bought your spring plants. All you need to do is dig a hole and water, right?
Not quite so, says the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Soils Matter blog post. The post explains the benefits to your plants’ health of taking a bit more time to create the best hole.
According to soil scientist Clay Robinson, there are several factors to consider. Most important is the amount of compaction in your soil. If you dig a hole with a garden spade, and have smooth, compacted sides, all you’ve really done is create a bigger “pot” for your plant.
“Perhaps the most important concept for the long term survival of your plant is create a hole in and with un-compacted soil,” Robinson said. “Plants need water and air to survive. Compacted soils – from heavy equipment, too much foot traffic or many other sources – don’t have large enough soil pores in them. And roots have a very hard time pushing through compacted soils.”
Robinson suggests taking a trowel or garden spade to loosen the soil all around the sides of the hole. “The soil will break off in small clumps of various sizes. If you look closely at the sides of the hole now, you can see some natural structure and cracks along the sides of the hole. These cracks help air and water movement, and root growth.”
For more tips on digging the proper hole for your plant, read the entire blog post. Visit here.
American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) have developed two videos. One is shorter, and can be found here. It quickly describes steps 1 and 4.
Another video goes into more depth about many variations regarding the soil that will help your plant investments best succeed. It can be found here. All serious gardeners and landscapers should watch these videos, and help our soil work in the best way possible to support plant growth – and protect those garden center investments!
The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members and 1,000+ certified professionals dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. The Society provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.